08-28-2010 09:08 AM
Hi. I'm about to redo my home theater setup and am planning on getting a Harmony 900 to control everything, but before I do I want to be sure it will work for my setup. The main difficulty is that in one location I will have three TVs (two of which are identical) and three cable boxes (at least two identical and maybe all three -- for now I'm assuming they'll all be indentical, and if I can get a configuration for that it will obviously work if only two are). I have three possible setups in mind, but I'm not sure of some of the limitations I'll encounter, so I'd love to hear confirmation on which of these will work (or other alternatives). Thanks in advance!
In the Configuration One I need only the Harmony 900 (along with the IR receiver and two mini-blasters it comes with) along with two sets of IR Precision Cables (http://www.logitech.com/en-us/remotes/universal-re
In the Configuration Two I would use an extra mini-blaster (and maybe an extra precision cable). If I'm able to add an extra mini-blaster (would I need to purchase the entire RF System to get it?) and if I can then separate the signals so that each cable signal goes only to one of the three mini-blasters, then that should work. The questions are 1) can I have three mini-blasters on one IR receiver and 2) if I can, can a signal be sent to any one (exactly one) of the three 3) if so, can I purchase one mini-blaster or should I just buy the RF system?
If each IR receiver can only support two mini-blasters then Configuration Two wouldn't work, so here's another option. In the Configuration Three the setup is the same as Configuration Two, except now I'm using the extra IR receiver that comes with the RF system. The question now is: with this setup, can the remote be setup to send a signal any one (exactly one) of the three mini-blasters?
Sorry for the long description, but I wanted to spell everything out as clearly as possible upfront. I'd greatly appreciate any feedback. The Harmony 900 looks great and I'm hoping there's a way of making it work with my setup! Thanks again :-)
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08-28-2010 08:17 PM - edited 08-28-2010 09:17 PM
I figured that if it didn't work I could always return it so I picked up a Harmony 900 and did a little testing. (Unfortunately the extra blasters, cables, etc. weren't available.)
I wasn't able to find clear answers online ahead of time, but after looking in the box I realize I made a few mistakes. I thought the precision cables plugged into the mini-blasters, but instead they plug into the (main) blaster IN PLACE OF the mini-blasters. Also, the main blaster only has two ports. Hopefully that didn't confuse anyone too much.
With just what comes in the Harmony 900 box, it looks like these are the ways to control each device.
1) IR from remote (that's what configuration 1 was supposed to show)
2) RF from remote to blaster, mini-blaster plugged into Port A of blaster, IR from mini-blaster to device
3) Same as 2 except for use Port B
4) RF from remote to blaster, IR from blaster to device
Of course for all of these care must be taken so that the IR signals only reach the desired devices. This can be mitigated by using precision cables, so that 2 (and 3) change to:
2*) RF from remote to blaster, flasher cable plugged into Port A of blaster going to device (via precision IR)
If adding blasters allows devices to be assigned to specific ports on specific blasters (I'm still not sure if that is true), then each blaster added would conceivably let you control two more identical devices.
I think with all of that I have enough information to know that this will work for me. Hopefully this is helpful to others :-)
EDIT: Fixed a mistake in proposed solution.
08-29-2010 09:45 AM
You can assign different devices to different Blasters, and/or mini blasters, or the Precision cables, you can use mono splitters in the Main Blaster to give you more ports to add either more mini blasters and precision cables.
08-30-2010 05:21 PM
Thanks for the reply. I'm thinking I'll need a couple of splitters so that I can get multiple sets of precision cables from each port, but other than that I think I'm good to go. :-)
09-25-2010 11:59 AM
So I finally got everything done.
Here's how my final setup works (essentially the same as the diagram above):
The RF reciever / main blaster has two ports on the back of it. I have a precision cable connected to each port. On the cable from port A I have one tv and one cable box, and on the cable from port B I have another TV and cable box. The final TV I'm just controlling w/ IR from the remote directly, and the final cable box gets IR from the main blaster. I have my cable boxes on three different shelves, but I still had some "IR bleeding" issues (i.e., all three boxes responding at once) -- a little electrical tape to fully cover the IR receiver area on the cable boxes using precision cables took care of that. With this setup I can control all three TVs and cable boxes independently.
For control w/ the remote I made activities such as "Control TV1" to take over a TV and its box. I used the option to leave devices on when leaving an activity, so I can switch between control of TVs by changing activities w/o them turning off. I also set it to not change any TV inputs when starting activities, so the only thing a TV does when I start an activity is turn on (unless it is already on). This way I can easily switch between them on the remote.
One other note: The Logitech Precision IR Cables come with two sets in each box. In other words, buying one box will give you two cords, each of which can connect to four devices. I didn't know this ahead of time and assumed one cable per box so I bought an extra one.
I hope this is helpful for others. If anybody has any other questions about how my setup works feel free to ask and I'll help out if I can. :-)